Updated
Nov 8th, 2017
First Posted
Nov 8th, 2017

Duffy's Sports Grill

1804 Cordova Road
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33316
(954) 713-6363
Overall Rating
2.3
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
11/07/2017

Details

Hours: 11am-Late, 7 days
Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Entree Prices: Moderate
Outdoor: No
Reservations: No

Pros

Easy to View Multiple Games
Lots of Drink and Food Specials
Tons of TVs

Cons

Poor Quality Projection Screens
Amateur Bartenders
Service Can Lag When Crowded
Not as Cheap as it used to be

Critic's Review

Sometimes actions are dictated by circumstances. I thought about checking out the new Duffy's in Boca last weekend with some of my reward points, but when I went to check my MVP card status, I saw that all of my rewards had been wiped out! The log showed that they were removed in August. I get emails from Duffy's all the time; but never one that my rewards were expiring. I contacted them and got my $50 in rewards restored, but I had to buy something before the card would taken out of "dormant" status. The FAQ says that your rewards never expire (and if they do it will say so on the account), but the trick is that if you don't use the card for 15 months, then you lose all of your rewards. Isn't that the same as expiring?

The thing is that I don't use my card if I go into Duffy's for a beer on Sunday. It's too crowded,and it takes forever for them to do the card. I pay cash and don't bother with the 6 points I'd get. And I hadn't eaten in Duffy's since I went to the Weston store in 2015.

Anyhow, the next day I got an email telling me I could get triple points on Tuesday, and I was 27 pts away from another $10 reward, so I could spend $12, get the 20% late lunch discount and still get the 30 pts I needed for another $10 reward. Just about a free lunch.

i walked in at 2:15 and initially thought I'd sit at the bar; but when I saw 20 people at the bar and 1 bartender, I changed my mind and got a table. This place is always woefully understaffed and 1 bartender handling lunch for so many people is a wholly predictable disaster.

You can still see the games from a booth; although there's nothing to watch on a Tuesday afternoon.

I ordered Iced Tea while checking out the menu'; I didn't see their lunch menu online so I had to see the choices. They have the ubiquitous soup and sandwich and pick 2 combos; mostly priced from $7 to $8 plus "premium options". Nothing really good and I needed to spend at least $12 to get my points. So I stuck with my original plan and ordered the new reuben sandwich. The side options at Duffy's SUCK so I just got the fries; the cole slaw is lousy as are the rice and beans; nor do rice and beans go with corned beef.

The tea arrived with the usual chain restaurant load of lemons.

Free wireless, Rangers re-runs combined with a questionable choice of sports-watching music (Heart, "Sorry", "Brazil" and Arcade Fire) combine for an acceptable environment for reading the NY Post sports section on my phone.

The sandwich came out 12 minutes later.

Very fancy with the metal basket for the fries. I'd asked for the dressing on the side because some places just put on too much and they ruin everything. Plus I wanted to taste the corned beef without the dressing. At first glance, I wondered if this was really 1/2 lb of corned beef, but when I picked it up it was pretty heavy. Overall, it was better than I expected it to be. Not Katz or Carnagie Deli, but good bread and kraut. No mustard was offered and by the time I figured I might want some I was half done and didn't want to have to wait for it.

The corned beef wasn't great, and they were a bit cheap with the cheese. But if you eat all of the fries it's a good load of food.

I cashed out and wanted to make sure I got the points; I wanted to make sure that my "dormant" card got the triple points. Ridiculously, they give you a receipt for the card without the new points; the points don't show up until after they close out the check, INCLUDING THE TIP. Seriously? You'd think a place with so many locations could get their POS vendor to do something custom that makes sense after all these years. if a customer wants to see his points on the receipt, the server has to enter the tip in order to print a receipt with the newly gained points.

Conclusion

Today was about clearing up my MVP cards status and securing another $10 reward so I can eat and drink at Duffy's for free for the next year or 2. In the process, I came to a number of conclusions. First, Duffy's isn't that cheap anymore. They have so many specials and rewards that they've lost their ability to market to tourists; looking at their menu, without discounts it's very expensive for a sport's bar. The problem is that "regulars" get so many deals and discounts that the place has become unappealing to everyone else. Also, if you read some previous reviews, the Daytime Lunch deal used to be 40% off; now it's 20-50% off depending on how much of an MVP you are. Duffy's is a lot like Animal Farm; in the beginning everyone was equal as an MVP; but now some MVPs are more equal than others.

Another thing I learned is that the front office is in disarray. Their MVP FAQ and Rules of the Game statements are contradictory; and they'll send you emails to tell you about a special event but not to tell you that they're about to revoke your EARNED rewards because you haven't used them soon enough.

This store still has the crappy projector TVs which is why I never come here anymore; I'm surprised they haven't replaced them with 70" TVs to remain competitive with Bokampers and other places with better TVs.

My value rating here is made with some pause; If you're a higher tier MVP the prices are great; if you're a tourist off the street then you're paying as much as most other restaurants. And the service here really stinks when it's busy.

Review 11/30/14

I stopped in a Duffy's because I didn't feel like going to the Kilt and I wanted to stay local. I hadn't been to Sunday Football at Duffy's since Bokamper's opened; and now there were 2 huge new sports bars with the Tilted Kilt also open.

Even when the Dolphins not playing, this place used to be the go-to place for people looking to watch there out-of-market team. The patio was pretty quiet; not too many serious smokers today.

When I walked into the "theater" it was clear that there has been some serious impact on Duffy's crowd. Multiple booths available in the theater area. There was a time when you had to get here before 12 to get a booth on Sunday.

It was 1:05 and I didn't want to drink, so I ordered an iced tea. Served with 2 skinny slices of lemon without sweetener; is there ONE server in this city that knows the basics of their job?

It took me a while to get a bartender's attention to get the sweeteners.

Watching the Giants game on the far wall; these projection screens just don't measure up. I could barely read the score. Some of the screens are blurrier than others.

When my glass was empty, neither of the bartenders offered a refill. One of them actually took my straw wrapper and my receipt from around the empty glass, and still nothing. Finally, I had to point at the glass "Can I get a refill?". I left at halftime. the crowd has picked up a bit; no seats at the bar but still a couple of booths.

This place has fallen to my 4th choice in the neighborhood alone.

Review 7/24/14

The Yankees had a day game so I checked to see if Duffy's had any new menu items, and I noticed they've added a Lobster Roll. With the 40% 2pm-4pm discount, that's under $9 for a lobster roll. So I headed over a bit after 2 and got a seat at a largely empty bar. The Yankee game was only on one of the big screens, so my choices of where to sit were limited.

They've finally cut over to the black and gold polo shirts for the servers, which makes them look a lot less frumpy.

The first thing that struck me was how bad the projection TVs are. As TVs get better, these old projectors just look worse and worse. I couldn't even read the batting averages they were so blurry. I'm thinking that Duffy's is going to have to either get better projectors or get some 90" TVs, because there's no way they can compete with Bokampers with these things.

Iced tea was delivered with no sweeteners. They slice the lemon into un-squeezable slices instead of wedges, so if you actually want juice in the tea you'll have to get lemon juice all over your hands. Luckily I didn't have any open cuts today.

The Lobster Roll is served with either Fries or Cole Slaw; I didn't want fries and I don't like their slaw, so I went with a caesar salad which has $1.59 up charge (95 cents with the discount).

Music here makes no sense; a laid-back middle-aged lunch crowd is tortured with "Country Club Mix", "Hit the Lights", "Brand New" , the Fall Out Boys and Daft Punk Feat. Can't the manager look around and realize that the crowd here has no interest in this garbage?

The salad and sandwich came out together.

I reflexively asked for extra dressing, but it wasn't needed. The salad is similar to what you get at Outback with a good caesar dressing. Does anyone eat croutons these days? I don't.

The lobster roll includes green onions and is sprinkled with some unnecessary spices, probably old bay or something; a good lobster roll just needs mayo and celery.

The lobster meat was sweet and delicious. The sandwich itself is diminished by a layer of shredded lettuce underneath. They probably do that to make it look like there's more meat than there is. Shredded lettuce never tastes good, maybe because I associate it with something you get at a Subway shop.

I ended up eating half the roll and just eating the meat from the other half.

The lobster roll and salad came to $9.95 after the Afternoon Discount. Looking around, I'd say that there wasn't 1 person in the place here for Sports; there were all here for the Deal.

For the price, I can't complain about anything here. But I'd lose the lettuce and butter the roll to elevate the roll to something much better.

Review 6/5/13

Ah, Duffy's. When they first opened; a young, growing chain, it was very exciting. The two venues who occupied this location previously, Original Steakhouse and Red Zone, where both terrible. Bad food, bad management. When Duffy's opened, all was Grand.

But as Duffy's grew, they started to lose their way. Generous policies became less generous. While advertising big deals virtually throughout the day, they became stingy with extras; skinny slices of lemon and little thimbles of dipping sauces. My last review of Coconut Creek was particularly scathing; so much so they put some $$$ on my MVP card and asked that I try again. With the Yankees playing a day game, I thought I'd wander in during their 40% off special, which is from 2pm to 4pm M to F. I could try more stuff with the discount, or so I thought.

They're doing some positive things: one is that they're changing the green to black; the servers now wear black and gold and it's much more appealing. They've also lowered the lighting, which is good when watching sports but not so good for taking pictures of food.

The Yankee game was only on 1 screen, so I had to sit on the east side of the bar. Every time I look at the Duffy's menu they have some new items; new today was a generally available wedge salad; previously it was only available as an add-on side. $4.99 for a small wedge. I ordered that with some crab cakes; my server informed me that I could get the wedge as a sub for the 2 sides that come with it, so I did that.

The salad came out first.

It was bigger than I expected, and with a lot more dressing and bacon than I expected for $5. Finally a really good value. And the salad was good; nice crisp bacon, good dressing with lots of chunks of blue cheese. Fresh crisp lettuce. A superb addition to the now massive menu.

The crab cakes came out when I was about half done with the salad.

Without the sides it looks more like an appetizer. So figure if the salad is $5, these are $11, which is about what you'd pay for 1 cake at a restaurant these days. Notice the little tiny wedge of lemon; suitable for about 1 cake? See what I'm talking about here?

The crab cakes were decent; I only ate one and took the other home. They're somewhere in between Carrabba's and Grille 66. We'll see how the 2nd one is with my home made tartar sauce.

When I went to cash out using the funds on the card, I got the bill without a discount. My server informed me that you don't get a discount if you use the card to pay. Ok, so they'd rather that I take up a seat during peak hours to use the card instead of when the place is empty. Another head-scratching policy at Duffy's.

So the lessons learned today: The wedge salad is a winner, and don't come during afternoon happy hour expecting to pay the bill with funds from your MVP card.

Review: 9/26/12

The Duffy's chain took this place over a couple of years ago and transformed what was a poorly maintained space into a bustling sports bar. They have a substantial menu that seems to grow weekly, and they have rotating specials that keep even non-sports fans coming back.

This Duffy's location distinguishes itself with the bar area which is the "theatre"; a big room with projection screens in a circle around the bar. You can see 5 screens from any seat in the place. It's the ultimate place to watch Sunday Football, particularly if you like watching multiple games. They get a good crowd and it's a real sports bar feel, which a lot of enthusiasm. I lost my voice here watching the Giants / Tamba Bay game 2 weeks ago.

When this Duffy's first opened, the food that I tried here was pretty good. But over time, their prices have creeped up and the quality of the food has diminished.

From 2pm-4pm during the week you get 40% off your bill, so if you're not stuck to a lunch hour it's a very good deal. The Yankees had a day game today, so I stopped in. They have a bunch of new dishes, but I know better than to order anything complicated. So I ordered a half rack of ribs with cole slaw and asparagus, which is overpriced at $14.95, but not as bad with 40% off.

Service at Duffy's is always amateurish; Iced Tea was dropped off without sweeteners or lemon. They don't hire experienced bartenders here, and they have no bar backs, so when there's an event or for Sunday Football they're just overmatched. More on this later. The ribs came out in about 10 minutes.

The ribs were certainly "fall off the bone tender"; they were better than Quarterdeck or Chuck's, but a far cry from what you'd get for less money at any BBQ joint. The cole slaw was ok; the asparagus were cooked properly but could have used some sauce; I squeezed some lemon on them.

The bottom line at Duffys is stick to the wings or the burgers, unless you're used to eating at the Ale House or Appleby's. I made the mistake of ordering a skirt steak here once; a bad piece of meat with nasty chimichurri; the more skill required, the more the dish is to be avoided. A guy sitting next to me had a "stir fry" with what were supposed to be lo mein noodles; but what was actually a heap of linguini. He mentioned to the server that what he got isn't what's described on the menu; her response was that she didn't make the menu. A real restaurant would have offered him something else.

They do have a late 2 for 1 happy hour every day, and they do have all of the sports packages. If you think of Duffy's as a bar where you can get some grub, you'll enjoy it just fine.

Review 7/16/11

The Duffy’s chain took this place over a year ago and transformed what was a poorly maintained space into a bustling sports bar. They have a substantial menu that seems to grow weekly, and they have rotating specials that keep even non-sports fans coming back.

This Duffy’s distinguishes itself with the bar area which is the “theatre”; a big room with projection screens in a circle around the bar. You can see 5 screens from any seat in the place. It’s the ultimate place to watch Sunday Football.

Duffy’s has established itself as a budget-friendly place to eat; even for those who don’t watch sports. They have great specials such as on Mondays, when all entrees are $9.95 after 5pm. And 40% off all food during the week between 2-4pm. They have 2 for 1 drinks every day between 4pm and 7pm and 9pm to close. A perhaps minor annoyance is that you have to sign up for a card to get the specials, but there’s no charge for the card and there are rewards, so if you come often its worthwhile.

To me, the only food that’s important at a sports bar are the wings, and Duffy’s wings are very good. They might seem expensive at $9.50 for 10 wings, but they are BIG wings; they’re hand breaded. The first time I went to Duffy’s in Plantation the wings were nicely piled and I got a ton of blue cheese (see photo from previous review), but at this store the wings were disorganized, the celery, carrots and wings were sitting in a puddle of hot sauce and there wasn’t enough blue cheese for the big wings.

f’s interesting how a slight difference in execution and presentation can turn a positive into a negative.

I made the mistake of ordering the “Charrasco with Chimichurri”, which they were unable to prepare medium rare. It was junk. I’ve had the Turkey also. Stick to the wings here.

Service here isn’t the best. When there’s a crowd it seems the servers spend more time punching numbers on their screens then they do serving; when the place was empty the servers were yelling across the room at each other while an empty soda glass remained empty. I often order a bottle beer and I’m never offered a glass.

And as cool as the theatre seems in concept; let’s face it: the projector screens just don’t have the picture quality that we’re getting used to with big HDTVs. It’s getting to the point where you get ticked off if a place only has 42″ TVs.

Another annoyance is that the screens are poorly managed. It’s arguably the most important thing to do in a sports bar, but they just do a bad job with it. You’ll often miss the beginning of a 4 o’clock football game because they don’t cut over quickly enough. Today I went in at 3pm and there were only 2 pro games on; The Marlins and the Yankees games. The Yankees were on 2 screens, both on the same side, forcing me to sit on the crowded side of the bar. After I’d ordered food, the screen I was watching changed to soccer; at which point only 1 screen in the entire theatre was on the Yankees game. Other screens were on a 70′s NBA replay game, cycling and 2 random sports channels showing nothing in particular. Did they really have to turn off the Yankee game? So I ended up having to watch through the taps on the other side of the room. Just a bad job by management.

Review 04/1/11

Today is opening day for MLB, and as a big Yankees fan I figured I'd do a sports bar for lunch, since the game was on ESPN at 1pm. I figured I'd report on a lunch deal; since people seem to like deals. Mugs Bar and Grill has been bugging me to re-review them; they advertise a $7.50 lunch menu. But they don't tell you what you can get for $7.50, so how is anyone to know if its a good deal? They said something about updating their web site about a month ago; but there's still no lunch menu.

So then I though about the Quarterdeck; a place that I'm not crazy about but they do have some good specials. The problem with the Quarterdeck is that they have 1 special each day; today is was a blackened prime rib sandwich for $5.99. I really didn't feel like a prime rib sandwich.

Duffy's has a 40% off deal between 2pm and 4pm, where you get a discount on their entire food menu. I initially thought I'd order some wings and just pig out and watch the Yankees game. I took a look at their new menu when I got there, and I saw that they have a "Churrasco Steak with Chimichurri", for $13.99 ($8.39 with the discount). I ordered it medium rare; my server said she'd "try, but it always comes out one way". It's such a thin steak, she explained. Ok, I'm just an idiot, and the fact that every other diner and restaurant in South Florida can make it medium rare really isn't relevant.

When it came out, I was disappointed just at the sight of it.

It just didn't seem like much food. They also gave me hardly any black beans; with all of their other "specialties" you get 2 sides; why does the skirt steak come with rice and a spoonful of beans instead of full side portions? I guess they count the plantains as a side.

I cut the steak in half and it was medium to medium well; which means that the steak was ruined. They'd also covered the steak with their really bad chimichurri sauce; a vinegary rendition that would have been better left in a bowl on the side.

Adding insult to injury, the steak was tough, which is what happens when you overcook a skirt steak. It didn't taste like it had been marinated at all, which is also a requirement for skirt steak. I scraped off the few beans off of the rice, and basically went home hungry. Even for $8.39, this isn't worth it. If I paid $13,99 for it I'd be pretty ticked off.

Note to Duffy's: If you can't cook a steak properly due to some limitation of either equipment or skill in the kitchen, don't put it on the menu. This dish is amateur hour all the way.

Late Lunch 8/4/10

Often you'd go into the Red Zone on a Saturday and there'd be no-one in there. Since Duffy's took the place over, things are very different. As someone who prefers to go to lunch after 2pm rather than mix it up with those with a fixed lunch hour, I appreciate when they're doing.

Every Monday to Friday from 2pm to 4pm, everything at Duffy's is 40% off. That's right. 40% off. You can get wings or a steak or meatloaf or a burger. Anything you want.

The Yankees had a day game so I though I'd head in around 3pm and have a bite. I ordered an Iced Tea and a paddy melt, which is a hamburger on "texas toast" with sauteed onions and cheddar cheese. You have to have a "MVP" card to get the discount, but if you don't have one you can just sign up on the spot.

The burger was pretty good as was the cole slaw, although the slaw was better after I loaded it up with pepper. I don't know which ketchup they've private labeled; but it isn't Heinz, unfortunately. The entire bill was under $10.

At a time of day when most places are either closed or cleaning due to lack of customers, Duffy's is fairly crowded. There are as many people in here on a Wednesday as you'd ever see in the Red Zone on a Saturday. They must be doing something right. You certainly can't go wrong with 40% off.

Review 5/16/10

If you had ever been to the Original Steakhouse (the establishment previously at this location) you've got a pretty good idea what you're getting here. While the Red Zone just slapped their logo on the front of the building and everything inside stayed the same, Duffy's has given the place a facelift and brought their well-established menu and specials. As has always been the case, this is the best place in town if you want to watch multiple games, as you can see all of the screens from anywhere in the bar area.

The first thing you'll notice is that all of the big projector screens are working. I can't remember the last time that was the case. They've added a lot of tables. They've eliminated nooks and crannies and put hightop tables there. Football helmets are bolted to railings that used to serve as a place to rest your beer if you were standing. There are more plasma TVs in the corners and they've moved the reception area forward in the foyer and put some tables behind it. The cage in the back that had all of the electronics has been moved out of site and there a big more room in the back of the bar area now. Duffy's has established itself as a budget-friendly place to eat; even for those who don't watch sports. They have great specials such as on Mondays, when all entrees are $9.95 after 5pm. And 40% off all food during the week between 2-4pm. They have 2 for 1 drinks every day between 4pm and 7pm and 9pm to close. A perhaps minor annoyance is that you have to sign up for a card to get the specials, but there's no charge for the card and there are rewards, so if you come often its worthwhile

To me, the only food that's important at a sports bar are the wings, and Duffy's wings are A+. They might seem expensive at $9.50 for 10 wings, but they are BIG wings; they're hand breaded, not wet and they give you plenty of blue cheese.

Unlike the clods who ran Red Zone, Duffy's has 22 locations and they know how to run a sports bar. When Red Zone opened I correctly predicted that they'd be gone within a year (chest beating goes here). I can say with equal conviction that Duffy's will do very well here in Fort Lauderdale, where good sports bars are nowhere else to be found.

Note that the food rating here is for their wings. For other items your milage may vary

Comment Policy Add Comment
Administrator
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Their $9.95 Entree Mondays are now $12.95.
Audrey
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The food is terrible.

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